Plan C

Now, where were we? The last place we left off I was talking about how we decided not to do our garage project in order to put that money into the roof and exterior of the house instead. I was also feeling really excited about re-siding the house in blue.

Well, we’ve had a change of plans yet again. Matt said we need a new furnace before winter. The one we have is 20 years old and I guess they are known for spewing carbon monoxide when they are on their way out. So I was totally on board with the new furnace thing. And while we’re at it, we figured we should get central air at the same time. But I was shocked when quotes starting coming back between 5-7k.

We figured we’d take out a loan to cover it. But when the bank let us know what our payments would be, Matt pitched to me what is now “plan C” in this new house adventure: We should hold off on new siding and windows and just do the roof and furnace. This would save us taking out a loan.

I’m not going to lie. It took me at least a full week to get over the fact we wouldn’t be getting new windows and siding. I had been so excited with the thought of giving the outside a new look and having it totally done this summer. I guess I’m still kind of having a hard time with it, but I am also glad we aren’t taking out a loan. In the long run I think it will be a good decision.

I’m taking my mind off the outside of the house and starting to plan the inside. This fall we’re going to gut both bathrooms and totally redo them. I want to do beadboard walls so we don’t have to mess with sheetrocking, plus I think the look works well in a lake home.

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Simple and clean

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Love it!

So that’s plan C. I have to remind myself our projects are more like a marathon than a sprint. It will get there. The waiting is just so hard at times.

Feeling Blue (and Happy About It)

Last week we had a guy come out and inspect the property so we could get our house insured. Unfortunately, he ended up being a bearer of some not-so-good news. The roof, which we were hoping to hold off until next summer to replace, is in such bad shape he wouldn’t even insure it. Awesome. We knew it wasn’t pretty, but “the plan” was to use the money we made from the sale of our house in town to build a much needed garage and home office area for Matt. I now put “the plan” in quotation marks, because the further we get into this new house adventure, I’m finding it’s not the original plan we had. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

So once we accepted the reality that the roof needed to be replaced this summer, we decided to get some quotes to finish the other exterior projects on our list. Being the house was only used as a summer cabin for Matt’s family, we knew we needed to put some time and money into making sure we’ll actually survive the winter. All you California  people can laugh. But I’m serious. The house needs to be house wrapped which should help insulate for winter, and while we’re at it, we’re going to replace the siding. The skirting also needs replacing, so Matt went ahead and ripped that off. Now we’re really looking ghetto. And the windows are in pretty rough shape too, so those need replacing as well.

Classy.

Classy.

The quotes we’re getting are anywhere between $10-$15k just for materials. We were thinking we’d just have to rip off the band-aid and get a loan to cover what needs to be done.

The more I thought about it to myself, I began to wonder if we could get by without building the garage in order to save ourselves from signing into another loan. We have the cash from the home sale for all the repairs we need to make. Yes, giving up the garage project would come with a price, but is it really that much to pay? Matt can continue working out of our bedroom, which really hasn’t been as bad as I thought. And he agrees. We’ll have to scrape car windows all winter long, but that alone doesn’t really justify needing to take out a loan either. We won’t have room to store all of our “stuff”. But maybe that will help us get rid of what we don’t need. This was the internal dialogue I was having with myself. It really was a conversation of “needs versus wants.” Do I want a garage? Yes. Do I want a nice office space for Matt to work from? Yes. But is it worth using the money that needs to be used on the house itself? Probably not.

I didn’t voice my thoughts about this to Matt because I didn’t want to take away his office space. And being he carries most of the financial weight in our family, I trust that if he thinks we need to build  a shed this summer, we need to do it.

But strangely enough, a couple days after I started changing my thinking about “the plan”, so did he. I was walking out the door to work one day and he blindsided me by saying “What if…” and basically shared my thoughts exactly about not building the shed and using that money to fix the house so we didn’t have to take out a loan. I was amazed that he had been having the exact same thoughts and we had never talked about it. When stuff like this happens, I like to think it’s God’s way of directing us into making the right decisions.

So as far as I know for now, we have made a 180 degree turn in our thinking. I used to think a shed was our priority. We “need” one, no matter the cost. But that’s not the case. It’s  a want. And possibly a financial burden that we don’t need to bring on right now.

I’m  excited that Matt and I are finding ourselves  on the same  page. And excited that this move is making us question what really is important.

In the meantime, I’m having fun thinking about siding! Right now the house is just a drab beige color. There’s nothing wrong with it, but being it’s a double-wide, the house is plain looking in the first place. The beige isn’t helping.

So let me know if I’m off my rocker, but I’m thinking blue! A nice, dark, navy blue. I think that would give the house a little more character and a nice “lake house”  look.  Here’s my inspiration:

Blue and brown might actually work together!

Blue and brown might actually work together!

And a little white

And a little white

Obviously, our house doesn’t look anything like these, but the colors work. Add a little pop of color at the front door like this and I think I’ll be good.

Welcoming, no?

Welcoming, no?

I’m feeling good about this.

Welcome to Our House

Welcome to our little house on the lake! It’s been such an adventure getting to this point in life that I thought it would be worthy of its own blog. I’m hoping that by tracking all of our progress on our new home that someday we can look back at all the work we’ve done with a sigh of relief and say, “We did it!” In the meantime, we’ve got a lot of work to do around here.

Our little lake house in all of her double-wide glory!

Our little lake house in all of her double-wide glory!

But first, the story of how we ended up here. Here is the short version if you don’t want the painful details: My in-laws wanted to sell their lake cabin. We wanted to buy it. Sold!

And now for those that are still reading, the long version: My in-laws have owned this lake property for over 20 years. My husband, Matt, with his parents and sister, spent every summer living at “the cabin”, which is a 90’s double-wide manufactured home they had placed on the property. Needless to say, they have many great memories here. And so do I. Matt’s family was living at “the cabin” when my family moved back here in August of 1999. One of my first memories of Minnesota was when his family invited my family over for lunch after church. A couple years after meeting Matt for the first time, we started dating, so I spent a lot of time here. (Don’t worry I’m not going to tell that story). Just know that the Brauchler cabin was not a new place to me either.

Fast forward several years. Matt and I are married. Matt’s sister is done with college and well on her way to getting married. My in-laws list the cabin with a realtor. And it doesn’t sell. And it doesn’t sell. And it doesn’t sell. Apparently the lake property market took a crap. And so it sat unused for several years.

Which brings us to 2014. Matt and I were (mostly) happily living in town in a 9 year old home that he bought new shortly before we got married. It wasn’t huge or fancy, but it was nice. It had our personal touches everywhere as we did a lot of work to it to customize it; the paint colors, tiled backsplash, the granite patio and landscaping, the deck, the newly finished basement, every tree and every flower was placed by us. On top of that, it was sentimental because of the living we’d done there. It was our first home together and the home we brought our kids home from the hospital to after they were born. It was where they learned to walk and talk.  Despite these sentimentals, we knew that we didn’t want to live in town for the long term. For years we’ve thrown around the idea of some day moving to the country and having what we called a “hobby farm.” But the thing that held us back from pulling the trigger on it was the fact that we had tried selling our house two times prior with no luck. In fact, after paying the realtor fees on the offers we did receive, we would end up in the red on our house, and we refused to have a short sale. So we were just going to be content in town until the housing market turned around, or until we were desperate to get out.

Our Maywood home. Not too shabby, is it?

Our Maywood home. Not too shabby, is it?

Luckily, we didn’t have to wait for either. In January, the conversation started between my father-in-law and Matt that they really wanted to sell the lake property. And Matt brought the idea to me that maybe we wanted to consider buying it from his parents. So we tossed the idea around for several weeks. I knew there were some major things I had to “get real” with myself about as far as the move. I had to ask myself some hard questions: Will I be okay giving up a basically new house with nothing wrong with it for a 90’s double-wide that is outdated, has no A/C, no garage, and thousands of dollars in repairs that need to be done in the short term future? In the end, I decided that the location was key. We couldn’t pass up the chance to have the flexibility of buying lake property from my in-laws and having our kids grow up in such an awesome environment. I kept thinking of all the fun memories we’ll get to build because of it; fishing, boating, ice skating. And to be able to have privacy! So we got the ball rolling. We were going to buy it.

Touring the house and asking myself "Can I live here?"

Touring the house and asking myself “Can I live here?”

One of the many perks of buying from the in-laws was the fact we were able to start working on the house before any papers were signed. We took down the window treatments, patched holes, wiped the walls, and started painting. No offense to anyone who loves 90’s decor, but it wasn’t my first choice. Or my second. But it’s what we had to work with. Luckily I enjoy a little DIY-ing. I told Matt before we decided to buy the house that he needed to give me free reign to change every wall, light, and surface in the house at some point to make it my own. I don’t know that he understood why but he did agree. So as soon as the weather cooperated we started painting. Everett wanted a John Deere green room. We settled for a soft green. Anna wanted pink. Our room is the same blue as our house in town. For the living room and kitchen, we went with a neutral cream color. Luckily the patterned wall board covered easily with the paint and stuck.

The work begins. Taking down window treatments.

The work begins. Taking down window treatments.

The master bedroom. Before.

The master bedroom. Before.

Getting my paint on. Photo courtesy of Anna.

Getting my paint on. Photo courtesy of Anna.

Master is looking better already. Color: Dutch Boy- New Age Crystal

Master is looking better already. Color: Dutch Boy- New Age Crystal

In the meantime, Matt bought paynesvillehome.com and started putting the web page together to sell our home in town for sale by owner. The website was ready by the end of March and an ad in the paper listed. The events of selling our house in town is worthy of its own post, but we basically had an official contract signed within a week of listing it for sale by owner, and we ended up getting more money than we were asking. This was another huge sign to me that we were doing the right thing.

After returning from a vacation in California in April, we started the move. Our first night at the lake was April 18th, or Good Friday. We slowly moved our things from our Maywood home to the lake home. And I completely underestimated how much work moving would be. It was awful.

Our first morning at the lake.

Our first morning at the lake.

After living at the lake for a month, we signed the contract for deed papers on May 16th and made it official. My in-laws are pretty great. They had the property lines moved (they own the land around our lot) so we’d have more lakeshore and more land to build a house someday. We have 1.1 acres on the lake! See how happy we are?

Closing day! Such a great feeling. And notice the kitchen has been painted!

Closing day! Such a great feeling. And notice the kitchen has been painted!

Our closing date on the town house followed a few weeks later on May 30th. What a huge burden lifted! Now we can finally focus on moving on and getting done what we need at the lake. Which is a huge list. Our summer projects include:

Building a garage
Getting an office space for Matt (he works from home)
New roof, siding, windows, and skirting
Replace rotting deck rails (done!)

I’ve pretty much given up on getting the indoor updating done until winter. Which is fine. The painting I’ve done helps. And we also tore out the upper half of a built in hutch that wasn’t doing it for me. It visually opened up the space so much! I eventually want to replace all the light fixtures, the cabinet hardware, the linoleum floors, as well as paint the cabinets. But summer is so short here in Minnesota that the outdoor projects are taking the priority now.

Ahh the joys and mess of rennovating. The hutch is gone!

Ahh the joys and mess of rennovating. The hutch is gone!

Living room walls: Sherwin Williams- Navajo White. And I've always wanted white trim and now I've got it!

Living room walls: Sherwin Williams- Navajo White. And I’ve always wanted white trim and now I’ve got it!

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Removed the kitchen hardware and put tape up to visualize new pulls for a more modern look.

I don’t regret the move one bit. I think I say at least once a day, “I love it here.” The kids haven’t once asked to go back “home” to the house on town. They’re loving it just as much. And the concerns I had about living in a “manufactured home” aren’t as concerning as I thought. I like to joke that we live in a trailer, although I don’t think Matt thinks it’s very funny. It’s just easier to say trailer than manufactured home. And we are slowly making our little house on the lake feel more like home. It’s gonna be an adventure.

It's all worth it.

It’s all worth it.